In Praise of the Humble Blue Blazer

What equipment does a newly minted Ruling Elder need? I would propose the following: the Bible, the Westminster Standards, the Book of Church Order (BCO), a phone for texting members and fellow elders (there is lots of texting), an email account, and that most Presbyterian item of men’s clothing—the essential blue blazer.
Why a blazer? A blazer is a solid-color coat—safe, humble, versatile, and frugal. A blue blazer is not going to impress, alienate, or overawe anyone. Let me put this gently: If you wish to impress with your creative and fashionable sartorial choices, you might not be elder material. If you are to stand out, let it be for your character, not for the cut of your suit; let it be for humility, not for haute couture; let it be for commitment to truth, not for the loudness of your plaids and patterns.

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Brad Isbell | “In Praise of the Humble Blue Blazer” | July 18, 2023


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  1. While I appreciate the point of this article — that an elder should be visible in his office and invisible in himself — I think we would agree that while dress codes at weddings may vary a great deal, no-one is taking a funeral seriously without a sombre-coloured full suit.

  2. Honestly, I believe that ministers and elders need to be easily identifiable for those unfamiliar to how they look. I’ve always felt that Geneva robes were recognizable but also signified the importance of their calling in the Church of Christ. I’m not saying we need to adopt the clerical collar or anything. Just something that would make them stick out in a respectful manner in a crowd.

    • Our pastor began wearing a Geneva robe a few years ago and it has been a blessing. I find that it takes the congregant’s mind off of the man and places it on the Word. It may be all in my mind, but he even appears more comfortable. Anything that assists me to focus on the ordinary means of grace is helpful, and the simple black robe does exactly that.

  3. The late Peace Corps Director and US Senator Paul Coverdale, though he was a Methodist, was quoted in local Atlanta news stories on his death in July 2000 that he always wore a blazer, no matter how hot outside, because his dad said people always trust the guy in a blazer in an emergency.

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